Section B question June 2011
"Happiness results when humans are in tune with their environment" Consider this view in relation to the texts you have been studying.
Chosen texts: As You Like It, Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Songs of Innocence and Experience
-define key words. What counts as 'happiness'? what constitutes as someone being 'in tune' with their environment?
-link to the pastoral. For example, the pastoral idyll involves people living simple, happy lives without conflict or adversity; as it has no place in typical pastoral literature
-set up debate. 'some would argue the statement is correct, as in Tess she is at her happiest when she is in the rural settings that she feels most comfortable in (Talbothays)'
-consider whether at every point characters are in tune with their environment if they are happy
As You Like It
Are the characters in tune with their environment in AYLI?
Phebe, Silvius, Corin and Audrey- stock pastoral characetrs who could be seen as in tune with their environment because it is their home and they live off the land. Are they happy? Silvius certainly isn't when his advances for Phebe are met with disdain. Audrey seems happy with her new husband
Rosalind- could be seen as being in tune with the environment of the court. However, as we see in Act 1 she is saddened by her father's exile. When she is Arden she is in disguise, which could possibly hinder her from being in tune with the environment because it is not her being her true self. However, it is here that she is happiest in the play, when she is not necessarily in tune with her environment.
Orlando- his environment at the beginning of the play was very hostile "his horses are bred better", as he was involved in wrestling matches and his brother was plotting against him. In the forest he was very happy, and in love. "run, run, Orlando, care on every tree"
Celia and Oliver- happiest in the forest. "no sooner met but they looked, no sooner looked but they loved"
With this in mind, it would be safe to conclude that the characters in As You Like It are happiest when they are in love, with the exception of Silvius.
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
When Tess is alone with nature, she is happiest. Here she is in tune with her environment "walking among the sleeping birds" meaning that nature is so comfortable with her the birds don't wake up. nature accepts Tess, as it "respects not the civil law", and Tess is an outsider in society "no law known to the environment in which she fancied herself such an anomoly"
The place with which she was most in tune with was Talbothays-"she felt akin to the landscape" "she was...physically and mentally suited among these new surroundings". Her she falls in love with Angel "her affection for him was now the breath and life of Tess' being"
In Marlott, some aspects of her personality are reflected in the landscape "untrodden as yet by tourist or landscape painter" reflecting her pure state at the beginning of the novel. However, it is debateable as to whether she is happy here before her ill-fated trip to Trantridge. she may have been content as she was healthy and safe, but still had the responsibility of helping her mother look after her siblings and an alcoholic father. On her return to Marlott, she is undoubtedly iunhappy as she is shunned for having a child out of wedlock.
Songs of Innocence
The general theme in Songs of Innocence is that when characters are just in the rural they are happiest. The happiest characters are the children, who are mainlly seen to be in tune with their environment. Their happiness, however, could be a product of their innocence, not being in tune with their environment.
"go and play till the light fades away"
"how sweet is the Shepherd's sweet lot"
"down a green plain leaping laughing they run"
"laughing is heard on the hill"
"green woods laugh with the voice of joy"
Songs of Experience
As in Innocence, happiness is found in the rural; not in the structured urban society "how can the bird that is born for joy, Sit in a cage and sing". This idea is embodied by the child narrator in The Schoolboy observing that being in a place you are not comfortable with, such as a classroom, "drives all joy away"
"leopards, tygers, play Round her as she lay" the child in The Little Girl Lost is in tune with her environment, at one with it, and because of this she is not in danger of its inabitants.
There are many examples when individuals are intensely unhappy:
"break this heavy chain"
"under a cruel eye outworn"
"mind forged manacles"